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Jan 27, 2021 - 2:33:16 AM

ian tofte

England

28 posts since 6/2/2014

I have a 1950s archtop rb250 which belonged to an uncle .I've had it about five years and have two questions that I know you guys on hear might be able to answer I was told it had a mute installed originally but never seen on on these banjos and I'm not sure of it's year I think it's early 50s but could be wrong I'll post pictures.




 

Edited by - ian tofte on 01/27/2021 08:11:04

Jan 27, 2021 - 4:36:21 AM

3456 posts since 4/27/2004

I looks to be an early 50s (1954 or later) RB-250. As far as a mute on Gibson banjos, it's typically attached to the armrest, with a hole drilled through the rim for the rod that attaches to the mute, which is mounted to the coordinator rods inside the banjo and underneath the head where the bridge is. The little hole I see on the flange of your banjo would not be part of any style of mute that I have seen. I have no idea what it might have been for.

Jan 27, 2021 - 6:50:46 AM

1092 posts since 7/25/2006

3 077-33 First 3 means 1953. Last 2 numbers 33 means 33rd banjo from that batch. !953 is usually refered to as the First year of the  Mastertone  bowtie with tone rings. Never saw a mute on this era Gibson.

Edited by - Bob Rodgers on 01/27/2021 07:00:40

Jan 27, 2021 - 7:03:19 AM

ian tofte

England

28 posts since 6/2/2014

Thanks for that information, I wonder about the hole on the flange inside has some small holes that look like there could have been a bracket, 53 would seem right.

Jan 27, 2021 - 8:03:38 AM

1092 posts since 7/25/2006

quote:
Originally posted by ian tofte

Thanks for that information, I wonder about the hole on the flange inside has some small holes that look like there could have been a bracket, 53 would seem right.


 Gibson never drilled any holes in flanges to attach any mutes. They used a special armrest and drilled thru the top of wood rim and attached the mechanical mute to the adjusting Rod.  Your is likely to have been done by someone who had seen the originals.

Jan 27, 2021 - 8:21:58 AM

ian tofte

England

28 posts since 6/2/2014

Interesting so could have been some type of after market kit or even a home made job.

Jan 27, 2021 - 11:57:41 AM

1092 posts since 7/25/2006

quote:
Originally posted by ian tofte

Interesting so could have been some type of after market kit or even a home made job.


Most likely Home made. 

Jan 29, 2021 - 6:09:48 PM

676 posts since 2/14/2007

The 5 string neck looks newer. The binding doesn't match the resonator. Perhaps it was a tenor originally?

Randy

Jan 30, 2021 - 11:31:54 AM

2653 posts since 4/16/2003

Agree with others above.
The neck is a replacement. Look at the binding mismatch.

Also... I seem to recall that the "250" series banjos were first introduced in 1954?
Not 1953...

I'm wondering if what the OP has may have been a TB or PB 150, later converted to its present state by adding a correct 4-hole archtop ring (for the 50's 250's) and a replacement (possibly 3rd-party) neck...?

Jan 30, 2021 - 2:58:32 PM

2394 posts since 12/18/2004

quote:
Originally posted by J.Albert

Agree with others above.
The neck is a replacement. Look at the binding mismatch.

Also... I seem to recall that the "250" series banjos were first introduced in 1954?
Not 1953...

I'm wondering if what the OP has may have been a TB or PB 150, later converted to its present state by adding a correct 4-hole archtop ring (for the 50's 250's) and a replacement (possibly 3rd-party) neck...?


What John Albert said above.......

Don Bryant NC banjo luthier

Edited by - bryantde on 01/30/2021 14:58:59

Jan 31, 2021 - 6:52:30 AM

ian tofte

England

28 posts since 6/2/2014

The neck is original to the banjo but was in a bad way so Luther Dave Stacey brought it back to a playable condition but I have know way of knowing it's full history apart from family photos taken in the sixties.

Edited by - ian tofte on 01/31/2021 07:02:53

Feb 3, 2021 - 5:54:47 AM

ian tofte

England

28 posts since 6/2/2014

I stand corrected as to the banjos history after contacting a relative it would appear that in the late sixties it had an archtop tone ring installed it was a rb150 and he insisted that the neck was original to the banjo when purchased from the dealer in the early 50s.my uncle is in his late eighties and says it always had the extra binding on the headstock but can't explain the mastertone block. The tone ring was added along with a home made pick up for amp.this was because he was playing with a loud jazz band at the time and needed the extra volume. This explained the holes.

Edited by - ian tofte on 02/03/2021 05:56:43

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